5 Tips for Maintaining a Good Relationship with Your Landlord During the Pandemic

Landlord-tenant relationships can be tumultuous. The pandemic is making it even harder for them to get along.

Landlords are upset about unpaid rent, but tenants are upset over eviction notices. Regardless of what happens, it’s crucial to maintain a good relationship with your landlord, especially in tough times.

The way you interact with your landlord will set the tone for how he or she will respond to your requests. If you’re experiencing financial hardship because of the pandemic, maintaining a peaceful relationship will only help you get through it in the best shape.

Your landlord might not give you a break, but if you have a good relationship, he or she will treat you with respect even if it comes to eviction.

 The pandemic has been steadily unpredictable: There’s no way to know what’s around the next corner, whether another lockdown or yet another extension of the eviction moratorium.

To keep the peace in chaotic times, here are five tips that will help you maintain a solid relationship with your landlord throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

1. Be understanding even in dire circumstances

 If you’re struggling to pay the rent or haven’t paid it in a long time because of the pandemic, be understanding when your landlord tries to collect or work with you on a payment plan. Even if there’s no possible way you can pay, recognize that your landlord is only trying to do what’s necessary – it’s not personal.

If the owner is working with a property manager or agent to collect late rent, try not to get mad at them, either. They’re just doing their job. Approach all your conversations with a property manager or landlord’s agent with respect and you’re more likely to be treated with respect in return.

 Just because you’re in a bad position doesn’t mean you have to be upset or turn defensive when your landlord tries to collect the rent. If you’re really in a dire situation, your being calm and respectful will help the landlord empathize with your situation even if they’re upset about not getting paid.

2. Communicate peacefully

 Landlords are often understanding and even forgiving when their tenants approach them to initiate a respectful exchange. No matter what you need from your landlord, make sure you approach each encounter peacefully. There’s no need to be defensive or aggressive.

Don’t presume your landlord will ignore you or brush you off. If you’re frustrated, wait until you’ve calmed down to communicate. If you start a conversation with the belief that the other person is going to be combative, you’ll broadcast a negative attitude that the other person will surely pick up on, at least subconsciously.

Give your landlord every reason to know you wish to act in good faith, even if you are unable to pay the rent.

3. Comply with reasonable changes to the rules

Landlords are generally allowed to make changes to lease terms once a lease shifts to a month-to-month arrangement. You may not like the changes your landlord selects, but it’s best to comply with reasonable alterations that aren’t worth fighting about.

For example, if your landlord wants to change where you park, that’s probably not worth fighting. If you don’t follow the new rules, you give your landlord greater legal basis to evict you.

On the other hand, if he or she suddenly decides you cannot have a dog on the premises when that’s been previously allowed and you’ve had your dog for years, that would be worth fighting. Other changes that might be worth a fight include being asked to remove temporary sheds that were installed with the landlord’s previous permission, and other conditions that were previously approved.

If you can’t make any headway with your landlord and they aren’t willing to negotiate, you’ll have to follow the new rules or risk eviction.

4. Don’t communicate with an abusive landlord

If your landlord is abusive, the only way to maintain a stable relationship is not to make contact unless you absolutely have to. For example, talk to the landlord about necessary repairs, but be brief about your needs. Don’t give them reasons to become upset.

5. Offer to pay partial rent if you’re behind

If you’re behind on the rent, but you can pay some of it, offer to pay what you can afford. Your landlord might not accept the offer, but that’s out of your hands. Make the offer in good faith and let your landlord determine whether to accept it or not.

Landlords want good relationships with their tenants

Your landlord wants to have a good relationship with you. Be agreeable and cooperative whenever possible and the landlord is probably apt to be more understanding of your position.


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